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Google I/O privacy announcements: Automatic 2-factor verification, ‘virtual credit cards’ and more

Check out Google's new privacy focused features that the tech giant announced at the I/O 2022 developer conference.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
May 12, 2022 12:47:55 am
google io, google io 2022 news, google io 2022, google privacy,Google is adding virtual credit cards to help keep users secure when they shop online. (Image via Google blog)

Google announced a host of new security features at its I/O conference taking place today. These include a new ‘Account Status Safety’ feature, automatic 2-factor authentication (2FA) and a new ‘virtual credit card’ option for users. It will also remove search results which include any personal information of users. Here’s a look at the new privacy-focused features that Google showcased.

Account Safety Status: Google will add a new safety status to a user’s apps in their Google Account settings. These updates will feature a yellow alert icon on one’s profile picture. This will flag actions a user should take to secure their account.

Automatic 2-Step Verification: Google will automatically start enrolling users into the 2-step Verification (2SV). This is designed to boost the security of one’s Google account and reduces phishing risks.

Virtual Cards: This will roll out to the US first for Visa, America Express and Capital One cards and Mastercard will be added later this year. The feature is designed to make shopping safer on Android and Chrome. These virtual cards use autofill to enter payment details at checkout, and Google says that virtual cards will add an additional layer of security by replacing the actual card number with a distinct, virtual number.

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Google says this will eliminate the need to manually enter card details like the CVV at checkout. Users can manage the features from pay.google.com where they will have to enable the virtual credit card option for any eligible card. Users will be able to see recent virtual card transactions as well. It is not clear if the feature will launch in India, but given the RBI guidelines on debit/credit card storage, it looks unlikely.

Phishing protections in Google Workspace: Google is also scaling phishing and malware protections that guard Gmail to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Personal results in Search: The new tool is rolling out as part of the company’s updated removal policies. This will ensure that users can easily request the removal of Google Search results that contain their contact details — such as phone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. This feature will be available in the coming months in the Google App, and one can also access it by clicking the three dots next to individual Google Search results.

My Ad Center: Google is also providing more control to users when it comes to ads they see. It plans to launch more ads privacy settings by the end of the year and will let users choose which brands they wish to see more or less of. It will give more control over the ads users see on YouTube, Search, and one’s Discover feed, while still being able to block and report ads.

Project Shield: Google also talked about the Russia-Ukraine situation and the ongoing cyber-attacks. In a blog post, Google notes that its “Threat Analysis Group (TAG), for example, has been tracking critical cyber activity to help inform Ukraine, neighbouring countries in Europe, and others of active threat campaigns in relation to the war.” Google notes that it has also expanded its Project Shield to protect the websites of 200+ Ukrainian government entities, news outlets and more.

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